Business

Eurozone Inflation, Continuing to Ease, Rose 2.6% in February
Business

Eurozone Inflation, Continuing to Ease, Rose 2.6% in February

The NewsInflation rates across most economies in Europe continued their descent last month. Consumer prices in the 20 countries that use the euro as their currency rose at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in February, down from 2.8 percent in January, the statistical office of the European Commission reported on Friday.Why It Matters: Interest rates won’t go down until inflation does.The sooner inflation rates drop closer to the European Central Bank’s target of 2 percent, the sooner the bank may be inclined to lower interest rates, which now stand at 4 percent. Christine Lagarde, the bank’s president, has said that she expects inflation will continue to slow given how much energy prices have declined from the nosebleed levels they reached in 2022. The easing of supply chain blockages has als...
Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank
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Yellen Urges Israel to Restore Economic Ties to West Bank

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Tuesday that she had personally urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to increase commercial engagement with the West Bank, contending that doing so was important for the economic welfare of both Israelis and Palestinians.Ms. Yellen’s plea was outlined in a letter that she sent to Mr. Netanyahu on Sunday. It represented her most explicit public expression of concern about the economic consequences of the war between Israel and Hamas. In the letter, Ms. Yellen said, she warned about the consequences of the erosion of basic services in the West Bank and called for Israel to reinstate work permits for Palestinians and reduce barriers to commerce within the West Bank.“These actions are vital for the economic well-being of Palestinians and ...
An Emboldened F.T.C. Bolsters Biden’s Efforts to Address Inflation
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An Emboldened F.T.C. Bolsters Biden’s Efforts to Address Inflation

An independent federal agency has become one of the most reliable executors of President Biden’s attempts to fight inflation, at a time when the White House has few weapons of its own to quickly bring down stubbornly high prices of consumer staples like groceries.The Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit on Monday, joined by several state attorneys general, to challenge a merger between the supermarket giants Kroger and Albertsons. The agency’s rationale in many ways echoed Mr. Biden’s renewed attempts to blame corporate greed for rising prices and shrinking portions in grocery aisles.“If allowed, this merger would substantially lessen competition, likely resulting in Americans paying millions of dollars more for food and other essential household goods,” agency officials wrote in a leg...
Can a Tech Giant Be Woke?
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Can a Tech Giant Be Woke?

The December day in 2021 that set off a revolution across the videogame industry appeared to start innocuously enough. Managers at a Wisconsin studio called Raven began meeting one by one with quality assurance testers, who vet video games for bugs, to announce that the company was overhauling their department. Going forward, managers said, the lucky testers would be permanent employees, not temps. They would earn an extra $1.50 an hour.It was only later in the morning, a Friday, that the catch became apparent: One-third of the studio’s roughly 35 testers were being let go as part of the overhaul. The workers were stunned. Raven was owned by Activision Blizzard, one of the industry’s largest companies, and there appeared to be plenty of work to go around. Several testers had just worked la...
France Will Cut Spending as It Sees a Weaker Economy Ahead
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France Will Cut Spending as It Sees a Weaker Economy Ahead

France is entering an era of belt-tightening, as the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, economic slowdowns in Germany and China and record-high interest rates take a bigger-than-expected toll on growth.The French will find themselves faced with cuts of 10 billion euros ($10.8 billion) in government spending, on items including environmental subsidies and education, the government announced Thursday, on top of €16 billion in cuts announced a few months ago. The finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, on Monday revised the forecast for economic growth this year to 1 percent, down from 1.4 percent at the end of last year.“Lower growth means lower tax receipts, so the government must spend less,” Mr. Le Maire said at a news briefing.After spending lavishly during the pandemic to support the economy and shiel...
New Freighters Could Ease Red Sea Cargo Disruptions
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New Freighters Could Ease Red Sea Cargo Disruptions

After the Houthi militia started attacking container ships in the Red Sea last year, the cost of shipping goods from Asia soared by over 300 percent, prompting fears that supply chain disruptions might once again roil the global economy.The Houthis, who are backed by Iran and control northern Yemen, continue to threaten ships, forcing many to take a much longer route around Africa’s southern tip. But there are signs that the world will probably avoid a drawn-out shipping crisis.One reason for the optimism is that a huge number of container ships, ordered two to three years ago, are entering service. Those extra vessels are expected to help shipping companies maintain regular service as their ships travel longer distances. The companies ordered the ships when the extraordinary surge in worl...
Walmart’s Earnings Rise on Holiday Sales and Surging E-Commerce
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Walmart’s Earnings Rise on Holiday Sales and Surging E-Commerce

The NumbersWalmart said its comparable store sales were up 4 percent in the three months that ended in late January compared with the year before. The number of transactions at Walmart rose 4.3 percent, but the average ticket price slightly decreased 0.3 percent, a sign that shoppers spent a little less on shopping trips. The retailer’s online U.S. sales increased 17 percent, and its online global sales jumped 23 percent, surpassing $100 billion. Losses for the e-commerce business were slowing as the company spent less on fulfillment costs, John David Rainey, Walmart’s chief financial officer, said in an interview. He added that more customers were using Walmart’s delivery services, helping to reduce costs.“Instead of a Walmart delivery being delivered to one house on a cul-de-sac, now we’...
Nature Has Value. Could We Literally Invest in It?
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Nature Has Value. Could We Literally Invest in It?

Picture this: You own a few hundred acres near a growing town that your family has been farming for generations. Turning a profit has gotten harder, and none of your children want to take it over. You don’t want to sell the land; you love the open space, the flora and fauna it hosts. But offers from developers who would turn it into subdivisions or strip malls seem increasingly tempting.One day, a land broker mentions an idea. How about granting a long-term lease to a company that values your property for the same reasons you do: long walks through tall grass, the calls of migrating birds, the way it keeps the air and water clean.It sounds like a scam. Or charity. In fact, it’s an approach backed by hardheaded investors who think nature has an intrinsic value that can provide them with a r...
Tucker Carlson’s Lesson in the Perils of Giving Airtime to Vladimir Putin
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Tucker Carlson’s Lesson in the Perils of Giving Airtime to Vladimir Putin

Tucker Carlson left Moscow more than a week ago, riding high from an interview with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that returned him to the spotlight after his abrupt cancellation by Fox News last spring.But the interview with the wartime autocrat, mocked in various corners of the political-media world for its soft touch, continues to have a long and tortured afterlife — becoming a trending topic all over again on Friday after Mr. Putin’s most vocal domestic opponent, Aleksei A. Navalny, turned up dead in a Russian prison.“This is what Putin’s Russia is, @TuckerCarlson,” Liz Cheney, the former Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, wrote on X after the news of Mr. Navalny’s death broke on Friday. “And you are Putin’s useful idiot.”Naomi Biden, President Biden’s granddaughter, also w...
Three Lessons From a Surprisingly Resilient Job Market
Business

Three Lessons From a Surprisingly Resilient Job Market

The pandemic created an economic crisis unlike any recession on record. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that the aftermath, too, has played out in a way that almost no economists expected.When unemployment soared in the first weeks of the pandemic, many feared a repeat of the long, slow rebound from the Great Recession: years of joblessness that left many workers permanently scarred. Instead, the recovery in the labor market has been, by many measures, the strongest on record.In early 2021, some economists foresaw a surge in inflation. Others were skeptical: Similar predictions in recent years — in some cases from the same forecasters — had failed to come true. This time, however, they were right.And when the Federal Reserve began trying to tamp down inflation, there were warnings th...